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sexual orientation

Letter to Ontario's Attorney General expressing concern about allowing public officials to refuse to marry same-sex couples

December 20, 2004

Toronto - I am writing to express concern over recent comments attributed to the Honourable Irwin Cotler urging provinces to allow public officials who are licensed to perform marriage ceremonies to refuse to perform this service for same-sex couples. As you know, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “Commission”) intervened in the Same Sex Marriage Reference before the Supreme Court of Canada to protect the right of gay and lesbian Canadians to get married. In this regard, the Commission agreed with the Attorney General of Canada’s position that requiring a religious official to perform a marriage ceremony that does not accord with his or her religious beliefs about marriage would violate section 2(a) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”).

Refusal to print stationery containing the words "gay and lesbian" ruled discriminatory

March 20, 2000

Toronto - On February 24, a Board of Inquiry ordered Imaging Excellence, a printing company, and its owner, Scott Brockie, to provide printing services to gays and lesbians and their organizations and awarded damages of $5000 in total payable to Ray Brillinger and the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, a customer of Imaging Excellence. In its earlier decision released on September 29th, 1999, the Board determined that Imaging Excellence and Mr. Brockie discriminated against Mr. Brillinger when it refused to provide printing services to the Archives.

Policy on discrimination and harassment because of sexual orientation

January 2006 - This policy sets out the position of the OHRC with respect to sexual orientation at the time of publication, and replaces the OHRC’s earlier policy, approved in January 2000. The policy was developed based on extensive research and community consultations, and was updated in 2006 to reflect the significant legal and legislative changes that took place after the initial document was approved. This policy deals primarily with issues that could form the basis of a human rights claim of discrimination. The policy is therefore bounded by the provisions of the Code and Canada’s legal framework for analyzing discrimination. At the same time, the policy interprets the protections in the Code in a broad and purposive manner.

Discussion paper: Human rights issues in insurance

October 1999 - The objective of the Paper is twofold: to promote dialogue on protecting human rights in the insurance industry and to examine alternatives to current practices by obtaining input from experts, regulators and consumers. Access to insurance in our society raises significant issues about distributive justice and fairness in the public sphere, issues that have received scant attention in Canada and in Ontario where rate setting has traditionally been viewed as a private matter.

Policy on HIV/AIDS-related discrimination

November 1996 - This policy clarifies the scope of the Code's protection for persons who are or are perceived to be infected with HIV or who have contracted HIV-related illnesses. The guidelines contained in this policy are based on extensive consultations between the OHRC and a wide-ranging number of interest and advocacy groups, employer groups, services providers, and members of the medical community, including hospital administrators.

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